More time, more time.


Now winter downs the dying of the year,
And night is all a settlement of snow;
From the soft street the rooms of houses show
A gathered light, a shapen atmosphere,
Like frozen-over lakes whose ice is thin
And still allows some stirring down within.

I’ve known the wind by water banks to shake
The late leaves down, which frozen where they fell
And held in ice as dancers in a spell
Fluttered all winter long into a lake;
Graved on the dark in gestures of descent,
They seemed their own most perfect monument.

There was perfection in the death of ferns
Which laid their fragile cheeks against the stone
A million years. Great mammoths overthrown
Composedly have made their long sojourns,
Like palaces of patience, in the gray
And changeless lands of ice. And at Pompeii

The little dog lay curled and did not rise
But slept the deeper as the ashes rose
And found the people incomplete, and froze
The random hands, the loose unready eyes
Of men expecting yet another sun
To do the shapely thing they had not done.

These sudden ends of time must give us pause.
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
More time, more time. Barrages of applause
Come muffled from a buried radio.
The New-year bells are wrangling with the snow.

-Richard Wilbur

fern fossil

8 thoughts on “More time, more time.

  1. I must read more Richard Wilbur. Thank you, dearest.

    I haven’t “felt” much about the new year. Today we are going to see Mary Poppins Returns. I wonder if it might make me think of the calendar’s turning in a different way. Maybe. Maybe not.


  2. Happy New Year from a newish follower from CT where there is no snow to welcome in the new year. I am grateful to be able to read your encouraging thoughts. Blessings to you and your loved ones in 2019.


  3. A well made poem, thought-provoking too, but tonight– well, it’s cold enough outside in the world. And I don’t want to “fray into the future.”

    I’ve been inspired by Mr. Wilbur’s work, and by your poetry selections in the past, Gretchen. So this is not a criticism… I’ll go back again over “Year’s End” later, when my sun is shining.


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